October 30, 2020

Man headed to jail after body slamming police dog, tossing it into a ravine during an arrest

A Mississippi man was sentenced to two years in prison for injuring a police dog during a 2017 arrest.

Ninth Circuit District Court Judge M. James Chaney sentenced Thomas Bruce Wilkerson Jr., 28, 2986 Mississippi 27, after a May 24 sentencing hearing.

Wilkerson was sentenced to 10 years in prison with two years to serve on the charge of injuring a Warren County Sheriff’s deputy’s K-9, and five years in prison with two to serve on the grand larceny charge. The sentences will run concurrently, or together, for two years.

He was also ordered to undergo long-term drug an alcohol abuse treatment and pay a total of $3,169 in fines, fees and costs.

The charge involving the K-9 stems from a July 9, 2017, incident when a deputy attempted to stop Wilkerson for reckless driving and he fled, driving into the yard of a home on Nailor Road and then running in to a wooded area.

He was later seen by deputy Rick McDaniel, who attempted to stop him. McDaniel and Wilkerson got into a tussle, with Wilkerson pushing McDaniel down, and running off. McDaniel opened his car door to let his K-9 partner, Soldier, out.

The dog caught Wilkerson and bit him on the leg before being picked up, body slammed and tossed down the ravine.

Authorities captured Wilkerson about five hours later in a wooded area off Grange Hall Road where he was hiding.

Sheriff Martin Pace said Soldier, McDaniel’s personal dog, later returned to duty. He said McDaniel and Soldier later moved to a town in Alabama, where McDaniel was hired as police chief.

The grand larceny involves the theft of a Husqvarna golf cart from the All Saints Episcopal School. The school is the site of the AmeriCorps Southern Region campus. Wilkerson was indicted on the charge in February.